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     The University of the Philippines Baguio (UPB) students held a candle lighting ceremony Tuesday, September 08, 2015 at the UPB lobby to condemn the killings and other atrocities committed against the indigenous peoples group Lumad.

     The event was attended by representatives of different student organizations and students sympathetic to the victims. According to Nedlloyd Tuguinay, UPB USC Indigenous Peoples Desk Head, the ceremony was organized to condemn the killing of indigenous peoples and to put a stop to militarization in Mindanao. Tuguinay instructed the participants to light candles and arrange these to form the word “JUSTICE” for the victims.

     The ceremony was preceded by Dave “Happy” Ruz, who thanked all students who joined the event for helping them fight for indigenous peoples’ rights. He was followed by student representatives of Anakbayan, League of Filipino Students (LFS), and Alliance of Concerned Students (ACS).

     “Sa mga ganitong mga sitwasyon na ang gobyerno ang mismong gumagawa ng mga paglabag sa karapatang pantao, kailangan po natin ng sama-samang pagkilos dahil napatunayan na na ang sama-samang pagkilos ang magkakamit ng pagbabago at hustisyang panlipunan. Ito po ay isunusulong at ipinaglalaban,” said Anakbayan representative John Christian Lopez.

     “Kung hindi tayo titindig at magkakaisa magpapatuloy ang pang-aapi sa mga katutubo at iba pang pambansang minorya. Kailangan nating maging kritikal at hadlangan ang mga ganitong pangyayari bilang mga estudyante ng Unibersidad ng Pilipinas at bilang mamamayang Pilipino.” said LFS representative Louise Montenegro.

     “Kasabay ng ating pagluluksa, tayo’y makiisa at sumama sa laban ng alyansa, kapamilya ng mga biktima, at kapwa lumad upang makamit nila ang hustisyang patuloy na ipagkakait sa kanila. Hindi dito matatapos ang laban at hindi dito matatapos ang pagkilos,” said ACS representative Christian Patricio.

     Tuguinay and Ruz closed the ceremony with the last challenge for the student participants. “Ngayong gabi, sana bilang isang Iskolar ng Bayan ay hindi pa rin madudurog ang ating damdaming makabayan dahil ito ang ‘esensya’ kung bakit tayo tinawag na ‘Iskolar ng Bayan’,” said Tuguinay.

     “Laging mananatiling tanong sa atin, ano ang magsisilbing ilaw na ito na tatangayin natin hanggang sa pag-uwi natin sa ating mga bahay?” Ngayon po siguro ilan sa mga maaari nating gawin, matapos ang pagsisinding ito at pagpapakita ng ating pagkakaisa ay marapat lamang naman na isa itong hamon sa atin upang lalo pang maging kritikal at aralin ang ganitong klase ng mga isyu sa ating lipunan,” said Ruz.

     As the UP Baguio community participated in the system-wide Day of Condemnation of Harassment of Indigenous Communities, the organizers called upon their fellow students to use the hashtags #StopLumadKillings and #StopKillingLumads to spread awareness on this current issue and to persuade other people to take action. (Lovely M. Erese | Roxanne M. Frijas) - As of September 9, 2015

 

Photo by LOUISE MANIEGO

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